By: Abigail Calandra
Rock climbing is a popular way to reconnect with nature and stay active while getting adrenaline pumping, but a busy schedule, a big city, and cold weather make it difficult to head out into the mountains.
Without leaving the city, Prague’s indoor climbing scene provides boulderers, sport climbers, and those putting on climbing shoes for the first time a chance to send some climbs.
Indoor rock climbing is an easier and safer way for new climbers to introduce themselves to the community, and Prague has gyms suited to all levels and styles. Equipped with shoes and chalk bags for rent, it’s the perfect time to wander into one of the gyms and begin your climbing journey.
Bouldering, a form of climbing involving physical strength and problem-solving without the need for a harness and ropes, is the perfect introduction to climbing to improve core and grip strength and ease into conquering fears of heights.
Two climbing gyms in Prague, Boulder Bar in Prague 7 and HUDY Boulder in Prague 8, are exclusively dedicated to this type of climbing. Boulder Bar is located in the Holesovice neighborhood with a local climbing community. The gym is small but newly renovated with light gray, squishy, carpeted flooring and extra mats for extra protection. One side of the gym consists of slab, which models rockfaces that are at a 90-degree angle from the ground.
The other side features sloping overhangs and a cave structure with jug and handle-like holds for enjoyable climbing. The routes are graded from easy to difficult based on a color scale listed around the gym. Boulder Bar is cash only and includes a small cafe perfect for a beer at the end of the session.
HUDY Boulder in Karlin is the newest and largest bouldering gym, just a short tram ride away from the city center. The gym’s prices are on the high end but offer a premier bouldering experience with new equipment, good music, and a friendly climbing community. Shoe and chalk bag rentals are available, and they offer lessons with a climbing instructor.
Prague’s climbing gyms also include opportunities to take up sport climbing. With more gear required and heights reaching beyond 15 meters, it’s essential to go with an experienced climber or take lessons to ensure a safe experience. Sport climbing involves a rope fed through permanently-fixed anchors and the aid of a belayer who provides friction that prevents the climber from falling too far.
Prague’s most popular gym SmichOFF in Prague 5, has top rope and lead climbing. In top rope, the climber is securely fastened into a rope attached to an anchor at the top of the climb, whereas in lead climbing, the climber clips their rope into the anchors as they ascend the route, and the belayer at the bottom protects the climber if they fall.
The gear required are a harness, chalk bag, climbing shoes, and a rope which can all be rented at the gym, and it’s recommended to take a lesson to gain some confidence before sending some climbs by oneself. Even in urban areas, it is possible to participate in rock climbing experience, a sport that pushes physical limits with trackable progress where challenging climbs become easier over time.
With some trial and error and loads of patience, climbing teaches people to think on their feet and collaborate with other people in the gym to find a route’s beta— the sequence of moves that help get to the top of the climb. Safety is essential to the experience, so take every precaution and climb on
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